Skedsheet Blog

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If Guinness needs to give away free beer, how does our marketing have a chance?

with one comment

This week, after working a trade show, we ended up an Irish pub in Chicago (O’Callahans) and were greeted by something that I didn’t expect.  A good-looking woman wearing Guinness-branded clothes was just inside the door with a simple question:

Q: Do you like Guinness?
A: Yes!
Q: As part of celebrating our 250th anniversary, we’d like to give you a pint.

That was it – they didn’t ask for any information, didn’t want me to sign up for anything, and I was free to enjoy my beer.  I overheard a few other people answer the question the same way – everyone’s voice had an edge of skepticism, but once it turned out that it was truly a free beer… well, there was no more skepticism. 

About halfway through the drink, the same woman came through the bar asking “Are you enjoying your guinness by carlos luna -”.  Yes, end of story.

But I don’t understand what they were trying to accomplish – selling Irish beer at an Irish pub in a city with a large group of Irish-Americans hardly seems like they’re testing new markets.  As far as I know, there’s not a  lot of competition for the palates of stout-drinking Americans, and I don’t think I changed my drinking preferences after a free beer.

Maybe they’re hoping that people will tell their friends.  But I’m not sure how that works – other than a free beer, there’s nothing remarkable about the story.  So does our marketing have a chance?  If a company that has made a great product for the past 250 years still needs to give out free samples, will it be different for us in a year or two…or hundreds?


Written by Harry Hollander

April 27, 2009 at 9:58 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Maybe they are hoping people will write about it.

    I bet most of the people who took the free sample were already Guinness customers, but Guinness needs to keep people thinking about their product so they remember that they want it.

    Software is different — it is much easier to switch beers than spreadsheets. If someone is using your product in their business you don’t need to remind them about your product: they are reminded whenever they use it. You do need to reach out to new customers and convince existing customers that upgrades are a good value. Free samples might play a role there, but I don’t think that is what Guinness was doing.

    I think they are just trying to make the world a better place.

    I’m going to go have a Guinness.


    April 27, 2009 at 2:25 pm

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